A little over a year ago we cautioned employers to be careful with summer hires. Make sure summer hires are qualified to do the work. Don't allow them to operate heavy equipment. And perhaps most important, don't just "toss them the keys" when driving is required.
Today we read in the New York Times (registratoin required) of a tragic accident in upstate New York. A car full of aspiring dancers was on its way to a lake for a swim. The driver sped along narrow roads, reaching speeds of 80 mph or more, until she lost control and slammed into a county dump truck. The small Toyota disintegrated upon impact, killing six people, the driver and five youngsters.
It turns out that the driver, 25-year-old Irina Mironova of Miami Beach, Fla., had a suspended Florida license for driving more than 100 mph. To be sure, many people get speeding tickets, but how many involve going 107 mph? This is a blatant case of negligent entrustment: Mironova should never have been allowed to drive. Not only did she have a poor driving record, if asked, she could not have produced a valid license.
I have no idea what the finances for running a small camp in the Catskills are like, but the camp would be required to carry liability insurance. In addition to suffering the pain of losing her youngest son, the camp's owner, Anna Kapitannikov, in all likelihood faces protracted legal actions for this single act of negligence. For lack of a simple check on her counselors's licenses, her life and her business are in ruins.
Good management takes nothing for granted. The fact that someone is 25 and knows how to drive does not mean you can trust them behind the wheel. A little due diligence is always in order. For the few moments that might take, you could be spared a lifetime of grief.